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Google Unveils Build-Your-Own-Phone Plan

Google's 'Project Ara' would allow users to build their own phone using various modules connected by an 'endoskeleton.' (Motorola)
Google's 'Project Ara' would allow users to build their own phone using various modules connected by an 'endoskeleton.' (Motorola)

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VOA News
Discarded mobile phones represent a large and growing stream of waste, but one handset maker hopes a new kind of phone will stem the tide and offer users more flexibility.

In the United States alone, over 129 million mobile devices were discarded in 2009, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Google-owned Motorola on Monday, announced “Project Ara,” which they say will create a “free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.”

The company says the goal is simple: to “give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it,” according to a blog post.

The phones will be built around an “endoskeleton,” which will provide the basic frame. Then, a user could snap in different modules.

“A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter--or something not yet thought of,” said Motorola.

Ara has been in the works for over a year and recently partnered with Phonebloks, a pioneer in build-your-own-phones.

"We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines," Motorola said the post.

In a few months, the company said it would invite developers to start creating modules by releasing the first version of a module developer’s kit.

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